By Charles Etukuri
Civil servants across 27 districts under the Decentralized Salary Payment System were not paid their April salaries because the accounting officers failed to finalize their April payrolls in time for uploads as earlier directed by the ministry of finance.
Several other staff in districts under the centralized system being managed by the ministry of public service also missed their April salaries and there are fears that they could end up missing their May pay as well.
The ministry of finance is now warning the accounting officers in the affected districts that should they fail to submit, they will not be appointed next financial year.
According to ministry of finance spokesperson Jimmy Mugunga, “the Secretary to the Treasury is their Appointing Officer and he has full mandate to implement sanctions against those who have habitually decided to frustrate this noble process”.
He goes on to say that sanctions may include deciding not to appoint them as accounting officers next financial year.
With most schools opening next week foe second term, there are fears that most parents will not be able to send their children back to school in time owing to salary delays.
Thirty-seven (37) districts are under the decentralized system.
Under this system all accounting officers are supposed to submit their payrolls to the ministry of finance directly by the 15th of every month and also publish the names of those on the payroll on the notice boards.
Mugunga said that they were gradually rolling out the Decentralized Salary Payment System but that some accounting officers were delaying the implementation of the project to ensure timely and fast payments to all civil servants.
“The decentralized system has been gradually rolled out to ensure a seamless adoption; training on systems use and coverage,” he said.
Workers across some districts like Kasese and Bugiri on Tuesday went on strike over delayed payment of their salaries.
In Bwera hospital, the staff decided to stage a sit-down strike after they failed to receive salaries for the last six months.
According to the hospital’s superintendent Dr. Jonathan Sekito, staff at the health facility have lost morale owing to the fact that they have not been paid hence encouraging absenteeism.
“Most of them are not being housed in the hospital and they are forced to rent houses far away,” he said, adding: “They have to incur transport costs daily to work and at times when they don’t have money they just keep away from the hospital.
The temporary sit-down strike on Tuesday prompted officials from the district led by the Chief Administrative Officer William Kanyesigye to come and address the staff at the hospital.
“During the meeting we were shown copies of a payroll indicating that for the last 6 months, the district has been preparing and submitting our payroll to the ministry of public service but then it seems somebody at the public service ministry was deliberately sitting and frustrating our payments,” says Dr. Sekito.
However the ministry of finance says that Kasese district, where Bwera hospital falls, and Bugiri district are some of the districts that are not yet covered but they belong to the centralized system which is managed by the ministry of public service.
(More details in Sunday Vision)